In the medical world of eighteenth-century Britain, doctors, caregivers and relief-seeking patients considered mineral waters a valuable treatment alongside drugs and other forms of therapy. Although the pre-eminence of Bath cannot be denied, this book offers to widen the scope of the culture of water-taking and examines the great variety of watering places, spas and wells in eighteenth-century British medicine and literature. It offers to veer away from a glamorous image of Georgian Bath refinement and elegant sociability to give a more ambivalent and diverse description of watering places in the long eighteenth century. The book starts by reasserting the centrality of sickness in spa culture, and goes on to examine the dangers of mineral water treatment. The notion of ‘murky waters’ constitutes a closely followed thread in the five chapters that evolve in concentric circles, from sick bodies to financial structures. The idea of ‘murkiness’ is an invitation to consider the material and metaphorical aspect of mineral waters, and disassociate them from ideas of cleanliness, transparency, well-being and refinement that twenty-first-century readers spontaneously associate with spas. At the crossroads between medical history, literary studies and cultural studies, this study delves into a great variety of primary sources, probing into the academic medical discourse on the mineral components of British wells, as well as the multiple forms of literature associated with spas (miscellanies, libels and lampoons, songs, travel narratives, periodicals and novels) to examine the representation of spas in eighteenth-century British culture.
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
foundation for the social historyofhealth.
Health as moral economy
The protests I have alluded to are equally moral and economic expressions (they involve assertions of obligation and appeals for resources to relieve). For my period and for Britain, E. P. Thompson's concept of ‘moral economy’ is a good starting point. Thompson was seeking to explain so-called ‘bread riots’ of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – episodes in which crowds, largely led by women, acted against purveyors who had raised the prices of
agents on soldiers’ minds and bodies. The
camp’s anxiety-provoking medical geographies are overlooked within
nineteenth-century French medical history and global environmental
historiesofhealth.5 This chapter aims to shed light on them.
Despite worries over the camp’s potentially harmful environment, the
creation of Châlons Camp heralded the beginning of the military narrative that identified supposedly empty and worthless land as ideal for
militarization. Tapping into the dominant expert views that this part of
Champagne was economically insignificant, Napoleon and
. Through its investigations into the diverse life of ‘balance’, therefore, the volume not only contributes to the cultural history of an everyday concept, but also generates insights into the historyofhealth governance and subjectivity and into the close connections between medicine, politics and the regulation of social life.
In her address to the 61st World Health Assembly in May 2008, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan, concluded her analysis of current threats to
This edited volume offers the first comprehensive historical overview of the Belgian medical field in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its chapters develop narratives that go beyond traditional representations of medicine in national overviews, which have focused mostly on state–profession interactions. Instead, the chapters bring more complex histories of health, care and citizenship. These new histories explore the relation between medicine and a variety of sociopolitical and cultural views and realities, treating themes such as gender, religion, disability, media, colonialism, education and social activism. The novelty of the book lies in its thorough attention to the (too often little studied) second half of the twentieth century and to the multiplicity of actors, places and media involved in the medical field. In assembling a variety of new scholarship, the book also makes a contribution to ‘decentring’ the European historiography of medicine by adding the perspective of a particular country – Belgium – to the literature.
In an era of transnational and global historiography, reflecting on the national frames of writing medical history remains a necessary endeavour. On the one hand, it helps historians to interrogate the metanarratives they use in writing about the medical past, many of which still focus on interactions between physicians and the state and stem from an older social historiography of medicine. By widening their gaze to a history of (health) care, historians may bring a broader range of actors and influences into the limelight. On the other hand, questioning national frames of writing history also shows the complex stratification of local practices, international circulation of scientific knowledge and national structures. Medical histories of modern Belgium therefore consist above all of a variety of entanglements taking place both in Belgium and beyond.
This afterword considers the significance of medical history in period dramas in the current context of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It considers the popularity of period drama as a source of entertainment and escapism, examining the extent to which such dramas include medical storylines. It then goes on to explore the significance of particular themes in medical history, such as gender, patient/practitioner power relationships, and patient voice, particularly as they relate to the chapters in this collection. In doing so it demonstrates how such analyses bridge the gap between academic histories of medicine and popular public discourse, furthering effective public communication and dissemination of scholarship. The afterword then goes on to examine the particularities of the small screen as a medium for engaging with the history of medicine, considering the advantages and disadvantages in relation to films and written fiction. It explores the limitations of dramatising or fictionalising the past, particularly as it pertains to histories of health and medicine. Locating this debate in the current pandemic context, it argues that medicine and caregiving in period television dramas root escapist fictional narratives in the embodied reality of lived experience.
This volume aims to disclose the political, social and cultural factors that
influenced the sanitary measures against epidemics developed in the
Mediterranean during the long nineteenth century. The contributions to the book
provide new interdisciplinary insights to the booming field of ‘quarantine
studies’ through a systematic use of the analytic categories of space, identity
and power. The ultimate goal is to show the multidimensional nature of
quarantine, the intimate links that sanitary administrations and institutions
had with the territorial organization of states, international trade, the
construction of national, colonial, religious and professional identities or the
configuration of political regimes. The circum-Mediterranean geographical spread
of the case studies contained in this volume illuminates the similarities and
differences around and across this sea, on the southern and northern shores, in
Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, English and French-speaking
domains. At the same time, it is highly interested in engaging in the global
English-speaking community, offering a wide range of terms, sources,
bibliography, interpretative tools and views produced and elaborated in various
Mediterranean countries. The historical approach will be useful to recognize the
secular tensions that still lie behind present-day issues such as the return of
epidemics or the global flows of migrants and refugees.
Quarantine and professional identity in mid nineteenth-century
Harrison, Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease, New
Haven, Yale University Press, 2012, 106.
2 Mark Harrison, ‘A global perspective: reframing the historyofhealth,
medicine, and disease’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 89, 2015, 651.
3 See the discussion of Harrison’s ‘A global perspective’ by Alison Bashford,
‘Bioscapes: gendering the global history of medicine’, J.R. McNeil, ‘Harrison, globalization, and the historyofhealth, medicine, and disease’, and
Kavia Sivramakrishnan, ‘Global historiesofhealth, disease, and medicine
from a “zig
This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what
did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the
Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the
three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual
evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact
which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on
intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy
and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of
the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink,
excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the
soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the
Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in
works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a
frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy.
The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental
and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success
in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not
undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the
roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of
convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions
about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to
affect human bodies and health.